Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs and Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jason Peters both tore their Achilles during this offseason. While Suggs has promised he WILL play at some point during the 2012 season, Peters is a definite scratch. Since both of these injuries occurred away from the teams respective facilities, both players were placed on the “NonFootball Injury/Illness list. This makes them eligible to have their salaries reduced. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen has the story:
Both players have claimed they were injured during off-site training sessions but league and union sources agree that any injury sustained that does not occur at the team’s facility or under its direction is considered a “Nonfootball injury.”
The Eagles and Ravens may act in accordance with their own wishes and pay the players all or a portion of their salaries. League sources say both Peters and Suggs are facing a financial reduction in 2012.
Peters will be subject to a loss of at least $3.25 million of his scheduled base salary of $7.9 million because that is the amount the Eagles will pay his replacement, former Bills tackle Demetress Bell, to take his spot this season. League sources say the team already has amicably discussed the financial reduction with Peters and his representative, Eugene Parker.
Peters tore his Achilles on March 27 and underwent surgery in early April and was expected to miss the entire season. He also re-injured the same surgically repaired Achilles this week and will need a second surgery.
Suggs underwent surgery May 7 to repair a partially torn Achilles, which he claimed he suffered while training in Arizona. Suggs said he expects to return sometime during the coming season.
Suggs’ case appears slightly more complicated because he has a partially torn Achilles and has said he believes he will return by October or shortly thereafter. If he were placed on the PUP list when the season begins, he must miss at least the first six games. It is conceivable the Ravens could not pay him those six game checks from his $4.9 million base salary.
This seems like it’s unnecessarily piling on to the misfortune of these two athletes. If what they claim is to be believed, they were both hurt while trying to better themselves for the job they are paid to do. While this does highlight reasons for athletes to stick around team facilities during the offseason and both teams are exercising contract clauses that are within their rights, no player should be punished for NOT being with the team during the offseason if he is actually attempting to work himself into shape for his employers on his own.